The illusion of empathy

One cannot “save another” through identification with shared misery. Two times the misery cannot equate to one being less miserable. One cannot help ease another by imagining their pain and “feeling” it oneself; thus, empathy in this manner can only delay healing all around. Ego loves misery, not Self.

Empathy can be an illusion that keeps one stuck in the belief in suffering. To empathize with the body is to share the illusion that bodies are the source of life, and in their inevitable failings, the horrible source of suffering and death. The body is not the source of the belief in existence in this realm, the mind is.

One saves time spent in illusion not by identifying with it, but by looking past the appearance of suffering to Essence, to the Love that is within all of sentient life and when recognized as one’s own Self heals all concepts of suffering of its own accord. It heals not by shared illusion, but by unification and self-realization of the very same Source of life. Recognition of the real Source of life within another is the recognition of the same Source as one’s own self. Looking past the bodily illusion of suffering and death to the truth of eternity is the way to heal.

To empathize does not mean to join in suffering, … Yet of this you may be sure… if you will merely sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through you, you will empathize with strength, and both of you will gain in strength, and not in weakness.” (ACIM, Chapter 16, The Forgiveness of Illusions, True Empathy)

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